First African American Woman Named President of CNIMFG

October 8, 2018 (Chicago) –For playing an integral role helping more than 110 neighborhood businesses gain access to over $2 million in capital to grow or keep their doors open that has created hundreds of jobs and scores of new community amenities within the Chicago area’s most under-resourced and disinvested neighborhoods, Erica King (39 years old), formerly Vice President of Lending at Chicago Neighborhood Initiatives Micro Finance Group (CNIMFG), was promoted today to President.  Erica became one of only a handful of African-American women in the country leading a financial services organization.

“Under Erica’s leadership, CNIMFG has become one of the leading microlending organizations in the Midwest for its unparalleled support for growing the small businesses, creating jobs and other economic opportunities that are essential to the well-being of the Chicago region and improving the quality of life for so many people,” said David Doig, President of Chicago Neighborhood Initiatives. “Erica’s achievements at CNIMFG have ensured not only the survival of a number of small businesses, but they have given minority entrepreneurs the opportunity to thrive while helping to transform underserved neighborhoods into strong sustainable communities.”

CNIMFG, a nonprofit microlender and certified CDFI, has deployed more than $2 million in capital to fuel the growth of more than 100 minority-owned small businesses that has created or retained 520 jobs since its inception in 2012.  In Pullman alone, CNIMFG has deployed eight microloans to catering, engineering, delivery and retail businesses including the Pullman Café that brought the first-sit down restaurant to the historic neighborhood in more than 20 years.

CNIMFG makes microloans of up to $50,000 to entrepreneurs and start-up businesses in Chicago and the surrounding suburbs where financial resources are unavailable or unaffordable from traditional financial institutions.  In fact, under Erica’s leadership, 92% of CNIMFG’S loans have been made to minorities, including 80% deployed to African-Americans and 47% to women small business owners.  One-third of the loans are made to start-ups and two-thirds to established businesses which support small businesses with working capital, assist in purchasing new inventory and equipment and provide start-up capital for new businesses.  In addition to the microloans, CNIMFG offers an array of services ranging from technical assistance and professional referrals to business and personal financial health consulting.

Erica is also responsible for CNIMFG’s role working to help reduce recidivism through its support of the Pathway to Enterprise for Returning Citizens (PERC), the innovative privately funded entrepreneurship training program for the formerly incarcerated. In conjunction with several state and local agencies and organizations, CNIMFG provides loans for qualified individuals upon their successful completion of the multi-phase training program designed to help launch their own business.  Erica has raised more than $800,000 for PERC and secured a significant contribution from Citi Community Development to support the program.

And just last month, CNIMFG was one of only 302 CDFIs in the U.S. that were awarded a $400,000 grant from the Community Development Financial Institutions Fund, part of the U.S. Department of the Treasury.  The grant will allow CNIMFG to increase its lending and investment in economically distressed communities in the Chicago metropolitan region.

Erica lives in Chicago’s Auburn Gresham neighborhood with her husband and two daughters.  “The passion for doing what I do comes from what I see and experience each day and my desire to help improve people’s lives,” said Erica.  “And providing access to capital for people to own and operate and their own business is one of the most powerful tools by which to help build stronger communities, build a better future and positively transform people’s lives.”